What used Mercedes E-Class saloon will I get for my budget?
A lot of E-Classes have done high mileages, so watch out for those - not for nothing is it known as the Stuttgart taxi. A 2016 example with high-mileage starts at around £14,000. Up your budget to £17,000 for something from the same year with a below-average mileage.
A tidy 2018 E 220 d at a dealer should be around £20,000. A good six-cylinder E 350 d with reasonable mileage costs a similar amount, while the stonking E 400 d or an early E 43 AMG can be had for roughly £25,000. You'll need somewhere between £25,000 and £30,000 for a good 2019 car, and between £30,000 and £40,000 for a good 2020 model. You'll need in excess of that for a post-facelift car.
The E 200 d and E 220 d both managed 72.4mpg under the old NEDC test, but that figure was downrated to a rather a more realistic 53.3mpg under the later WLTP tests.
The E 300 d and E 350 d returned 47.9mpg and 47.1mpg, respectively. Despite having a similarly sized engine as the latter, the E 400 d returned a less impressive 42.8mpg, but that's probably down to being saddled with a heavy four-wheel drive system.
If you prefer petrol the E 200 is the most cost-effective choice, returning 38.2mpg. The low 31.7mpg of the E 450 means you might as well go for the E 43 or E 53 AMG models, which can manage 33.6mpg and 31.4mpg, respectively. Don't bother with the E 63 unless you have deep pockets; 23.7mpg is all you can expect from it.
Not all of the engines in the E-Class range were available before 1 April 2017, so here we'll concentrate on the ones that were. The lowest CO2 emitter is the E 350 e plug-in hybrid at 49g/km, followed by the E 200 d at 102g/km. Stepping up to the E 220 d increased emissions to 109g/km, but that's nothing compared with the AMGs. The E 43 emits 192g/km, while the E 63 is the worst at 207g/km.
Tax for all cars registered after April 2017 will be at the flat rate, and there's currently a small saving on that for the hybrid, but any models costing over £40,000 will attract a supplementary charge that's payable for five years from the car's second year. Anything registered before this date will fall under the old system that based the amount of tax you paid upon the amount of CO2 (see paragraph above). You can find out more about road tax costs here. Current costs are £155 a year for the road tax (£145 a year for hybrids) and £335 a year for the luxury car tax.